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Learning to read: English in comparison to six more regular orthographies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 November 2003

University of Jyväskylä and Niilo Mäki Institute
University of Salzburg


Reading performance of English children in Grades 1–4 was compared with reading performance of German-, Dutch-, Swedish-, French-, Spanish-, and Finnish-speaking children at the same grade levels. Three different tasks were used: numeral reading, number word reading, and pseudoword reading. The pseudowords shared the letter patterns for onsets and rimes with the number words. The results showed that with the exception of English, pseudowords in the remaining orthographies were read with a high level of accuracy (approaching 90%) by the end of Grade 1. In contrast to accuracy, reading fluency for pseudowords was affected not only by regularity but also by other orthographic differences. The results highlight the need for a revision of English-based characterizations of reading development.

Research Article
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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